Donny Robinson won the 2006 National Bicycle League Championship and the 2007 USA Cycling BMX National Championship. Now, for the first time in Olympic history, BMX bicycling will be a competitive sport at the 2008 games, and Donny is determined to win a gold medal. Though small in stature, he is considered a David in the world of BMX Goliaths. Not only is he passionate about racing, Donny is passionate about his faith in Christ. As a Christian athlete, his infectious faith spills over into everything he does, revealing a relationship with God that forms the foundation of his zeal for life.
Interview with Christian Athlete Donny Robinson
Briefly explain how and when you became a Christian:
I believe it was in 2001 at 18 years old, when I finally decided I needed to be baptized as a Christian.
I was surrounded by the Christian lifestyle since I was a teenager, not so much from my family, but both by my dance teacher (yes, I took dance too) and by my BMX team manager. This meant that while I was at home and traveling to races, I could see how true Christians lived their lives, and they influenced me so much. It was good though, because I made up my mind about accepting Jesus on my own (although it took 6 years). It was something I came to realize I didn't want to wait on anymore.
I still remember the moment when I knew I wanted to live my life for Jesus as much as I could; it was during a plane flight. I am really scared of flying, even though I have to fly many times a month. I have certain CDs that I listen to, to help calm me down when there is turbulence. I was listening to a Keith Green song called "YOU!" There is a line in the song that says, "Don't wait too long to decide." Now, I had been listening to that song for years, and knew exactly what that line was referring to, and that particular flight did it for me. I told myself that I was getting baptized when I arrived home, which I did.
Do you attend church?
To say that I go to church every Sunday would be a lie. I'm not perfect, and most of the time I find my traveling or racing, or even rest, becoming more of a priority. I enjoy singing and worshiping, and love going to Bible study, so I try to devote at least one day a week to gather with others at First Christian Church in Napa, CA. It seems like most of the time I worship in my own way, listening to WOW Worship CDs on the plane.
Do you read the Bible regularly?
I'm really trying to go back through the Bible as much as I can and delve deeper into what the passages are actually saying. Thanks to Pastor Jermaine for that!
How does your faith influence you as an athletic competitor?
I know that God has a purpose for my life, and he has blessed me with this talent to be a BMX racer for a reason. Entertainers and athletes have more power over today's youth than any political leader or the like could have. So, I know I need to use my talents to spread his Gospel, and that drives me to be successful, so I can make an impact.
Do you ever face difficult challenges because of your stand for Christ?
There have been many times when I've been looked down upon, for my reasons why I don't act a certain way or participate in certain activities, or even why I thank Jesus for things. But, it's not as bad now as it was in the past. Most people I'm around know that I try to live the most Christ-like life I can, and they accept what I represent. I know that if I'm able to compete in the Olympics, there will be much harder times when I'll have pressure to stand my ground for what I believe in. The cost will be worth it though.
Do you have a favorite Christian music artist?
I have been listening to Keith Green CDs for 12 years, so he is definitely on the top. Any artists that compose great songs are favorites to me: John Waller, Casting Crowns, and pretty much all the artists on K-LOVE radio ...
Who would you name as a personal hero of the faith?
I have always been the smallest rider in all of my classes, so everyone has said I'm the David in the BMX world of Goliaths, so definitely, David is a hero for the faith he had. Also, my dance teacher, Sara Kirkland, my team manager, Erick "Big E" Bartoldus, and a fellow BMX competitor, Randy Stumpfhauser. These people have led me to Christ and shown me how true Christ-followers live. I thank them for inspiring me to be a better person.
What is the most important life-lesson you have learned?
It's hard for me to speak of my faith because, truthfully, I know I fall way short of what Christ wants from me. I don't think I should be proclaiming anything, when I see some of the things I do sometimes. I know God's mercy renews me every day. He wants us to shine for him, and we want that too.
Is there any other message you would like to say to readers?
I know that we can overcome everything through him, and be a light for others. Thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope in some way I can be an inspiration in how I live my life!